Wednesday morning brought a bit of a surprise on Twitter for baseball fans, especially those that are fans of the Arizona Diamondbacks or of Kirk Gibson in general. You might remember that Gibson was a very good football player in college at Michigan State. You might have known that he was even drafted. This is the tweet that surprised a lot of people:
34 years ago this month, Kirk Gibson ran a 4.28 40 for NFL scouts. Was set to be drafted 1st overall in '79. Then he went out for baseball.— Lynn G. Henning (@Lynn_Henning) April 11, 2012
Now I know hat Gibby was really fast and I know he was a solid receiver, but this was the first time I ever heard he would have been drafted first overall.
Now, what really happened was that he was drafted in the NFL -- by the then St. Louis Cardinals, who took him in the seventh round.
Now, let us pretend that he didn't choose baseball. What would have happened?
It is possible that he would have ended up in Arizona earlier, being that the Cards moved from Missouri to Sun Devil Stadium in 1988.
Knowing his injury history in baseball, he would have been out of the league earlier. The physical toll of football would likely have ended his career much too early. He probably would have had a few highlights, but probably not the long-lasting impact he had in baseball.
Had he stuck with football, the some iconic moments disappear. He does not turn the 1988 Dodgers in to wolrd champions and Orel Hershiser's magical season is just an individual performance.
He never hits that homerun in the 1988 World Series off of Dennis Eckersley. Likewise, his homer in the 1984 Series off Rich Gossage disappears.
He doesn't win a controversial 1988 MVP award.
More importantly, he never becomes a baseball coach and eventual manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks. .If he never does that, then he never turns the team around from last place to first place in 2011. And the team would not have started 4-0 without him.
In the end? I think we all are glad that he picked baseball and not football.